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South Carolina to seek death penalty in church massacre

Thursday, September 03, 2015 - 01:21

A South Carolina prosecutor will seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof who is charged with the murders of nine black worshippers at a Charleston church. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: A South Carolina prosecutor will seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof, who is charged with the June murders of nine black worshippers at a Charleston church. The 21-year-old Roof, who is white, has been accused by prosecutors of gunning down his victims, members of a Bible study group at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church, a nationally known and historically black church. Ninth Judicial Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson held a news conference Thursday afternoon regarding the case. "This was the ultimate crime and justice from our state calls for the ultimate punishment," Wilson said. In court filings, she wrote that "Dylann Storm Roof by his act of murder knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person in a public place." The death penalty decision could determine how Roof pleads in the case. He has not entered a plea so far in the state's murder case. At his July 31 arraignment on separate federal hate crime and firearms charges, his attorney said Roof wanted to plead guilty to those charges, but the defense team was not ready to let him do so. "Until we know whether the government will seek the death penalty, we cannot advise Mr. Roof," defense attorney David Bruck told the court at the time. The federal judge then entered a temporary "not guilty" plea on the court's behalf. Some of the victims' relatives have said they forgive Roof but have not said where they stand on the death penalty. Roof is accused of shooting the so-called "Emanuel 9" on June 17 after he had entered the church, joined their group and sat quietly with them before opening fire. Among the dead was Clementa Pinckney, the church's pastor who was also a state senator. President Barack Obama eulogized Pinckney in Charleston at a funeral attended by more than 5,000 people.

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South Carolina to seek death penalty in church massacre

Thursday, September 03, 2015 - 01:21